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Homeless, Private School, Resolution Meetings Subjects of New Reports

Project Forum, a federally-funded project under the auspices of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, has released reports on several areas, including special education and homeless students, resolution meetings with parents, and support for students with disabilities in private schools.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as well as the McKinney-Vento Act, call for educational services for students who are homeless. Unfortunately, there are many barriers to getting these students the help they are entitled to, as we saw during Hurricane Katrina, for example.

This report outlines the problems and offers some potential solutions: for example, having administrators who oversee McKinney-Vento working directly with administrators who oversee special education could help ease some service delays, it says.

The full report (pdf) is available here.

The report on dispute resolution offers a snapshot of the process states and parents go through to fix problems before they result in due process hearings. IDEA 2004 required that such hearings be held within 15 days of a parent filing a request for due process. In some states, the availability of mediation is affecting the use of these "resolution hearings," because parents want a neutral third party involved in the process. The full report (pdf) is found here.

Finally, Project Forum released a short document on how districts provide services to students with disabilities who are enrolled in private school by their parents. Though those children have no individual right to services like those enrolled in public school, a certain amount of federal dollars must be set aside to provide some services to those students. The full report (pdf) is here.

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